STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART LXI: MANNY PACQUIAO WINS THE RING FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE AND BECOMES THE FIRST FILIPINO AND ASIAN THREE-DIVISION WORLD CHAMPION
By Maloney L. Samaco
Sun, 16 Aug 2020
Pacquiao rises to superstardom by beating Barrera in 2003.
Manny Pacquiao defended his IBF super bantamweight title by annihilating Thailand's Fahprakorb Rakkiatgym by 1st round KO at 2:46 on October 26, 2002 at the Rizal Memorial College Gym, Davao City.
Then he stopped Kazakhstan's Serikzhan Yeshmagambetov by 5th round TKO on March 15, 2003 at the Rizal Park, Manila.
Pacquiao also halted Mexico's Emmanuel Lucero by KO in the 3rd round on July 26, 2003 at the Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California and retained his IBF super bantamweight title.
On November 15, 2003, Pacquiao faced Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera at the Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, a career defining moment for the Filipino boxing icon. Pacquiao moved to the featherweight division and fought in that weight for the first time.
Pacquiao proved to be the more powerful puncher and defeated Barrera via technical knockout at 2:56 in the 11th round. At the time of the stoppage judge Ray Hawkins saw it 97-90, Gale Van Hoy scored it 97-89 and Glen Rick Crocker had it 97-90.
The referee stopped the fight when Barrera's trainer climbed into the ring. Pacquiao was declared knocked down in the 1st round in what replays showed as actually a slip after connecting a left hand.
Barrera went down the canvas in the 3rd and 11th round and was penalized one point in the 9th round for hitting Pacquiao during the break. With the victory Pacquiao became The Ring and lineal featherweight champion of the world.
This was the only loss in Barrera's professional career via KO. Pacquiao became the first Filipino and Asian to become a three weight division world champion.
Six months after the fight with Barrera, Pacquiao challenged Mexico's Juan Manuel Márquez, who was the WBA and IBF featherweight champion that time. The event occurred at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, on May 8, 2004.
Pacquiao drops Marquez during their first meeting in 2004.
In the first round, Márquez was knocked down three times by Pacquiao. However, Márquez never gave up and showed the true heart of a champion to recover from the opening round knockdowns. He continued fight and win more rounds than Pacquiao as the fight progressed.
Márquez's counterpunching style was very effective against the aggressive stance of Pacquiao. With 30 seconds left, the crowd gave them standing ovation, as both fighters raised their hands at the final bell. It was acceptable that both Pacquiao and Marquez were winners in the eyes of their respective boxing fans.
Judge Guy Jutras of Canada scored the fight 115-110 for Marquez, while judge John Stewart of New Jersey scored it 115-110 for Pacquiao. The third judge, Burt Clements of Nevada, had a 113-113 draw. He scored a 10-7 opening round because, he admitted later to media that he did not realize he would have given a 10-6 round. If Clements had scored the first round 10-6, as what the other two judges did, Pacquiao would have won by 113-112 on Clements' scorecard and would have won by a split decision.
Next Pacquiao faced Thailand's Narongrit Pirang and won by TKO in the 4th round on December 11, 2004 at the MC Home Depot Fort, Taguig.
On March 19, 2005, Pacquiao moved up to the super featherweight (or junior lightweight) division of 130 pounds in order to face another Mexican legend, the three-division world champion Érik Morales, for the vacant WBC international and vacant IBA super featherweight titles.
The fight happened at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas. The match was the first of the Pacquiao-Morales trilogy, being generally considered by experts as one of the greatest boxing trilogies of all time.
Pacquiao lost to Morales during their first meeting in 2005.
Pacquiao was able to hurt Morales in the opening round before the Mexican champ recovered and controlled the fight. Pacquiao suffered a cut over his right eye due to an accidental clash of heads in the fifth round. He lost the twelve-round match by a unanimous decision from the judges. All three scorecards had it 115–113 for Morales.
On September 10, 2005, Pacquiao knocked Héctor Velázquez out at 2:59 in the 6th round at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to wrest the WBC international super featherweight title, which he went on to defend five times. On the same card, his rival Morales fought Zahir Raheem of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and lost by a unanimous decision in the main event.
Velázquez later became the WBC lightweight champion in 2009 and the WBC super featherweight champion in 2010. He also held the IBA featherweight title in 2000.
Despite Morales losing to Raheem, Pacquiao fought him in a rematch which took place on January 21, 2006, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Pacquiao connected punches at every angle as he avenged his defeat 10 months ago and gave Morales the worst beating of his career and was stopped in the 10th round.
Pacquiao avenged his loss to Morales by stopping the Mexican in the 10th round during their second meeting in Jan. 2006.
It was the first time Morales had ever been knocked out in his very splendid professional career. The stoppage came at 2:33 of the 10th round when Morales, who had barely rose up from the first knockdown of the round, and was knocked down again with a flurry of hard blows and referee Kenny Bayless immediately waved the fight.
On July 2, 2006, Pacquiao defended his WBC international title against Óscar Larios from Mexico and former WBC super bantamweight and featherweight champion, moving up two weight divisions. Pacquiao won the fight via unanimous decision, knocking down Larios two times in the twelve-round bout at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. The three judges scored the fight as follows: 117–110, 118–108, and 120–106. It was Pacquiao's last fight in the Philippines.
Pacquiao and Morales faced each other a third time, with their boxing series tied at one win apiece, on November 18, 2006. A huge crowd of 18,276 came to see the match as Pacquiao defeated Morales via a third-round knockout at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Both fighters started out aggressively and Pacquiao first knocked Morales down in the second round. Morales retaliated with his own shots, but just could not keep up with Pacquiao's terrific speed. After a knockdown midway in the third round, Pacquiao finished him with a destructive left hook with just 3 seconds left.
Pacquiao stopped Morales again in their third meeting in November, 2006.
Morales sat on the canvass and never got up after receiving Pacquiao's finishing blows, crestfallen and shook his head at his trainer-father Jose, at his corner. Pacquiao celebrated his magnificent victory over the third man to beat him.
Pacquiao threw 175 punches in 9 minutes of action, landing 54%, including connecting 51 of his 71 power shots in the third round alone. Morales landed just 26% of the punches he threw.
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